Mistakes, lack of hits costly for Dale in semifinals

Brian Johnson
Shawnee News-Star, USA TODAY NETWORK
Dale's Cade Capps (20) singles to right-center against Christian Heritage on Friday in the semifinals of the Class 2A State Tournament at Dolese Park in Oklahoma City.
Dale third baseman Connor Kuykendall fires the ball to first base for the out Friday against Christian Heritage.

OKLAHOMA CITY – Mistakes and lack of hits were too much for the Dale Pirates to overcome Friday in the semifinals of the Class 2A State Baseball Tournament.

A Dale comeback fell just short as the Christian Heritage Crusaders outlasted the Pirates 5-4 on Palmer Field at Dolese Park.

Errors and baserunning miscues set the tone for Christian Heritage. Dale actually matched the Crusaders hit-for-hit at six.

“We made too many mistakes and didn't hit the ball like we should have,” said Dale head coach Eddie Jeffcoat. “You cannot get up here, not play well and expect to win.”

Of the five runs scored by Christian Heritage, only two were earned.

Starter Dayton Forsythe was tagged with the loss after going 3 2/3 innings. He allowed the six hits while walking two and striking out four.

Ike Shirey had a strong effort in relief as he allowed no hits and only one walk while striking out five over 3 1/3 innings.

“We have come to expect that from him. He threw really well,” Jeffcoat said.

Crusader starting pitcher Lane Behymer allowed just five hits and five walks while recording a strikeout through six innings of work in earning the victory.

After Christian Heritage took a 1-0 lead on Nate Nuthman's RBI single through the right side of the infield in the top of the first.

The Pirates countered with a run of their own in the bottom half of that frame. Shirey drew a leadoff walk, stole second, moved up to third on a groundout and scored off Carson Hunt's RBI groundout to first base.

The Crusaders, with the help of two hit batsmen and an error, put another score on the board in the second inning as Jake Boatman was hit by a pitch, advanced to third on an error and scored off a passed ball.

A two-out rally by Christian Heritage, with the help of another miscue, led to three more runs and a 5-1 advantage.

Dale pecked away with a single run each in the fifth, sixth and seventh innings.

Dallen Forsythe, who reached on an error, eventually scored off an error in the fifth. Connor Kuykendall picked up an RBI off a groundout to first base in the sixth. Hunt smashed a delivery to the gap in right-center for a run-scoring single, but was thrown out by right fielder Luke Walfard at second base, trying to stretch the hit into a double in the seventh.

Cade Capps finished 2-for-2 with a pair of singles for the Pirates. Hunt and Shirey were each 1-for-3 as Hunt drove home two runs and Shirey also drew a walk and scored once. Tate Rector also contributed a pinch-hit single in the game.

The game marked the career finale for eight Dale seniors – Shirey, Dallen Forsythe, Hunt, Carson Colvin, Cade Capps, Cole Capps, Cade McQuain and Lucky Sheppard.

“This is really a good senior group. This was my first group when I came here and they were in the seventh grade. This is a special group,” said Jeffcoat.

The Pirates' achievements shouldn't go unnoticed, according to Jeffcoat.

“It was a good season. Only eight teams make it (to state),” Jeffcoat said. “Obviously, our goal is not to just make it, but win it. But a bunch of other teams would like to be here and we lost just four games all season.”

Dale wrapped up play with a 27-4 record.